Extant Development Plans and Policies

Until such time as the Plan Strategy is adopted, planning decisions will continue to be made in the context of the existing development plans and planning policies.

The current development plans and planning policies for the Borough were prepared by the Department of the Environment (DOE), now known as the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).

They comprise:

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015;

Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015;

Strategic Planning Policy Statement;

and operational planning policies contained in the existing suite of Planning Policy Statements and other planning policy documents.

The Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) was adopted on 9 September 2014 however that adoption has since been judicially challenged and subsequently quashed as a result of a judgment in the Court of Appeal delivered on 18 May 2017.

As a consequence of this, the North Down and Ards Area Plan 1984-1995 (NDAAP) is now the statutory development plan for the legacy North Down area, with draft BMAP remaining a material consideration. Further, it is the position of the Council that, pursuant to the Ministerial Statement of June 2012, which accompanied the release of the Planning Appeals Commission’s (PAC) reports into the draft BMAP public inquiry, a decision on a development proposal can be based on draft plan provisions that will not be changed as a result of the Commission’s recommendations.

The Chief Planner in his fourth Update to Councils dated 29 November 2019 confirmed that draft BMAP remains as an emerging plan and, as such, the draft plan, along with representations received to the draft plan and PAC inquiry reports, remain as material considerations to be weighed by the decision-maker.